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Mindset Reality Check on Self-Confidence

By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance

“Self-confidence is something that you develop from within. It’s the belief in yourself regardless of whether anyone else believes in you or not. It is a trait we develop over time. Like any other skill or characteristic, we have to hone it, sharpen it, and craft it.” - Harry Petsanis

In order to develop a new mindset, it’s important to reflect and understand the flawed foundation that exists behind your self-confidence so that you can destroy it and build a new, solid foundation built on your new mindset.

The Cracks in the Foundation of


Self-Doubt, Fears, and Insecurities

Self-confidence is believing and trusting in your own abilities. This helps you to discover and develop yourself in healthy, productive ways. Self-doubt is the opposite of self-confidence. It is lacking confidence or belief in yourself and your abilities.

Self-doubt stems from experiences of being criticized, insecure attachments, being told you’re not good enough, as well as societal conditioning. Fear of failure is the root of self doubt. Our greatest failure is allowing our fears and insecurities to determine our fate. Most people don't live the life they want or intend, they live the life others expect them to live. That isn't living, it's existing.

When self-doubt stops you from learning about things and making your own decisions, it holds you back and prevents you from living your life on your terms. Lack of self-confidence leads to low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth. When you have a poor opinion of yourself, it affects the quality of your life. It’s self-destructive.

We allow our fears to become our decisions. We also allow our fears to become our excuse to never excel. Part of that is based in fear, but part of it is based in choice. People will tell you they’re afraid of failing, but what they’re often afraid of is success because they know all of the work success entails. Success requires effort, hard work, determination, focus, the refusal to quit, the refusal to make excuses, and the ability to persevere and overcome every obstacle. These are things that people are capable of doing but unwilling to do. (See our blog on Fear, October 18, 2021)

Self-confidence is not developed by avoiding our fears. It’s developed by confronting them. Each time we confront our insecurities regardless of the outcome, we begin to develop confidence from the fact that we did confront them. Success doesn’t concern itself with failure. Success understands that setbacks and disappointments are nothing more than obstacles on the road to confidence.


"We're not the words people use to label us. We're not the subjects teachers enforce on us. We're not the robots society conditions us to be. We're not the replicants parents shape us to be. Be your authentic self."

-Harry Petsanis

From our inception, we are controlled and conditioned to believe that our thoughts and opinions are irrelevant and unworthy. We’re trained to believe that the thoughts and opinions of others trying to control us are the only thoughts and opinions that have value in our lives.

Those thoughts and opinions have become the template created by others for how we should live our lives. In our most formative years, throughout our upbringing and educational experiences, this control and conditioning has suppressed our self confidence to the point where we have no concept of who we are.

This suppression teaches us that our voice, thoughts, and opinions have no meaning, causing us to spend our lives following the views and perspectives of others while negating our own instincts and nature.

We are living the lives that others have determined we should live.

Approval, Validation

You will never develop self-confidence when your thoughts and actions are driven by the approval of others. One of our biggest flaws is the constant need for attention and approval. Until we foundationally embrace that the opinions of others do not define us, we'll truly remain lost and lack confidence in our own abilities. We become completely dependent upon others, losing any sense of self-confidence because we have no sense of trust in ourselves. (See our blog on Trust, October 18, 2021).

The reason we crave external validation and approval is because of conditioning. We’ve been taught that our worth is dependent on what people think and say about us. Those teachings aren’t a coincidence. They’re intentionally enforced on us as a form of control and manipulation so that we spend the rest of our lives seeking praise and approval for our actions that benefit others, which can be detrimental to us. (See our blog on Praise, October 1, 2021)

Approval and validation should never be attained externally. They must be developed internally. How you feel about yourself should never be based on how other people feel about you.

Building A New Foundation of


Reflection and Journaling

Reflection is a very powerful tool that can be used to empower yourself to change. Reflecting on your past experiences, emotions, and reactions can help you to recognize the damaging habits you developed throughout the years that have injured your self-confidence.

Journaling, writing things down, can help you sort, interpret, and understand the meaning behind who you have become today to help you develop your new mindset toward self-confidence.

Become mindful of your thinking as you start listening to your inner self. Pay close attention to identifying those habits that cause you to doubt yourself, such as reaction to criticism, need for validation, approval from others, reaction to fear, negative self-talk, conditioning, and suppression of thoughts.

Start Laying Bricks for A

Solid Foundation in Self-Confidence

As you reflect and journal your experiences and thoughts, you can start developing your self-confidence through a new mindset by following the ten steps below:

  1. Start listening to your inner voice and begin to trust and believe in yourself

  2. Develop your own sense of self-satisfaction; validate yourself

  3. Confront your fears; don’t let them hold you back; develop courage

  4. Focus on the process and not the the outcome; focus on the steps, not the goal

  5. View failures/mistakes as learning experiences, not setbacks

  6. Live your life the way you were intended to live it, not determined by others

  7. Step out of your comfort zone, that’s where the learning is

  8. Be authentic by matching your actions to your thoughts; put in the efforts

  9. Persevere, persisting in your efforts without quitting

  10. Focus on what you can control, not on what you can't; don't overthink

We will be doing individual blog posts for each step above. Contact us at the contact tab above with the step that you would like prioritized.

People who are goal oriented, task oriented, and interested in growing and improving waste no time focusing on what other people are saying, doing, and how they are living their lives. There’s beauty and a quiet dignity in confidence. Confident people rarely over-talk. They are never uncomfortable with silence. They allow their actions to speak for them. They say what they mean. They are authentic. (See our blog on Authenticity, October 25, 2021).

Remember, self-confidence is a trait we develop over time. Like any other skill or characteristic, we have to hone it, sharpen it, and craft it.

The following words define self-confidence.

Make them a part of your new mindset!

Self-assurance, self-esteem, self-trust, assertiveness, self-respect, self-reliance, courage, bold, level headed, fortitude, tenacity, self-content, self-satisfaction, self-admiration, presence of mind, wise, insightful, risk taker, don't quit, overcome, inner voice, intuition, self-worth, independent, hard worker, instincts, self-identify, self-composure, common sense, positivity, determined, consistent, persistent, focused, persevere, resilient,

tenacious, authentic, committed

About the Authors

Harry Petsanis is a mindset and accountability coach, philosopher of human nature, consultant, and lifelong fitness and nutrition expert. He is a writer and author, with two published books: “The Truth is A Lie” and “The Logical Path To Life.” His book “The Truth is A Lie” was nominated by the 2019 Author Academy Awards in the "best self help" book category. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.

Click here to order Harry Petsanis’s books.

Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.

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